REVIEW – Mastic Scum: CTRL

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  • Bio: "Mastic Scum was founded 1992, inspired of the Deathmetal/Hardcore scene of the early `90 s. The idea was to create an own sound influenced by different styles." - Website Biography
  • Label: Massacre Records
  • Release Date: December 6th, 2013
  • Genre: Brutal Death Metal, Death Metal, Grindcore
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Austria’s Mastic Scum has been working hard since forming in 1992 to get their name out there. In 1993 Rødel Records issued their debut EP Ephemeral Cerebral Butchery, and what followed was an avalanche of split recordings from 1996 until 2002, finally releasing their first full-length recording Zero in 1999 through Noise V Records. Since then, another three albums were released, as well as a compilation. For 2013, the band find themselves signed with the mighty Massacre Records with their fifth studio album, CTRL. Does this effort show a band ageing, or have those twenty years only helped to build up to this moment?

While it does blend Death Metal and Grindcore, CTRL has a bit of a mechanical environment. While it doesn’t venture into the Industrial style, it does have some electronic sounds from time to time, similar to something off a Fear Factory album. It’s a nice touch that compliments the blunt brutality of the performances. “Controlled Collapse” sets the dark, oppressive atmosphere perfectly thanks to the audio sample in the first twenty seconds. The thick audio quality with the loud click of the bass kicks really press against your chest, and the additional synth-effects in the background do make the music even more rich. The lower buzzing of the guitars sound great when the riffs become highly technical, but the deep bass guitar really gives the song, as well as the entire album a truly intimidating backbone.

“Brute-Force-Methode” throws the listener right back to the early days of Death Metal and Grindcore. The bass guitar really stands out over the low buzzing of the lead distortions, while the abusive drums maintain the proper pace to keep the track abrasive throughout, even during the simpler groove-fuelled chorus. And then there’s “Create/Negate,” which starts off with some twisted, highly distorted riffs for a brief introduction before hammering into the song itself. The drums offer some of the best blasting the album has to offer, and the guitar solo not too far in is as impressive as it is aggressive.

Mastic Scum“Dehumanized” is a well paced track with a strong groove to the infectious riffs that are able to command your head to bang along obediently, even if you don’t want it to. The additional mechanical effects in some spots makes it far more grim, and the layered gutturals add some extra bite. Much of this carries into “Hyper-Detection 2.0,” but it does have a few spots where the music sounds a bit empty, leaving it far less aggressive. Even the more technical elements, as well as the guitar solo about a minute-and-a-half in sound weaker from it. The contributions of the bass, however, simply cannot be ignored, making many verses harder than similar cuts were, especially towards the end. Sadly by the time you hit “The Vortex Within,” things start to slow down a bit. This track, as well as “Resurrection,” are far from the most memorable tracks the recording has to offer, though the latter does pick up about half way through with solid drumming and plenty of hooks.

CTRL is a blunt, oppressive and truly violent Death Metal assault that fans of the style mixed with Grindcore will definitely find an appreciation for right away. Twenty plus years in the making, and Mastic Scum only continues to get better. This album is just forty-four minutes of infectious brutality, complimented with solid slabs of groove, and a hint of Industrial effects for good measure. If you haven’t heard Mastic Scum yet, then let CTRL be the all important first experience.

Mastic ScumDigital review copy of this release provided by Massacre Records.